"Jazz" is not attested before 1913

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Mar 30 05:48:37 UTC 2001

At 12:50 PM -0500 3/30/01, George Thompson wrote:
>Laurence Horn wrote: "Speaking of out-of-bounds sex--I forgot to mention
>another wayward "Big Apple" citing.  This was on the A&E courtroom
>series "100 Centre Street" a couple of weeks ago; the embattled liberal
>night court judge Joe Rifkind played by Alan Arkin explains to his
>clerk/factotum that the source of "Big Apple" is the upscale whorehouse
>run by "Eve", whence "Eve's apples", and so on."
>You uns may remember that I posted this explanation perhaps six months
>ago.  It originates with a web site set up by a purported society for
>NYC history.  If it is true that on the internet no one knows that you
>are a dog, equally, no one knows that you are a liar, or fool, or crank,
>or ignoramus or peddlar of misinformation for some nefarious purpose.
>In this case, the answer is, the poster is a natural born liar, since
>there is no way that s/he believes the piffle about "Eve" and her
>"little apples".  Not that I acquit him or her of being any or all of
>the other options.
>It also illustrates what I like to call "Popik's Law": bad word
>histories drive out good.

...especially on the web, home of junk science and junk history, as
noted in that web-posted article just called to our attention
(http://ajr.newslink.org/ajrcarlapro01.html).  Junk etymology of
course counts double.

I very much like George's statement of Popik's Law (or is it Popik's
Lament?), although I'm still partial to "etymythology".


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